David Matias Papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US TxSaTua SC.020

Name and location of repository

Level of description



David Matias Papers


  • 1979-1998 (Creation)


2 boxes (1 linear foot)

Name of creator


Biographical history

David Matias was born David Thomas Matias Rodriquez in Seagoville, Texas, on February 5, 1961. He grew up in Kerrville, Texas, where his father was a prominent fourth generation Southern Baptist minister. David graduated from Tivy High School in Kerrville, and earned a BA in Speech and Drama from Trinity University in 1983. He was awarded an MFA in Theater from the University of North Dakota in 1987.

After graduation, he moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he became heavily involved in the Provincetown Theatre Company, where he wrote, directed, and acted in numerous productions. He began to use the pen name David Matias, both to honor his father and because "Rodriguez was the 'Smith' of Texas."

Matias was diagnosed with HIV sometime during his graduate school. Poetry provided him with a creative outlet to process his illness. His first collection of poems, Dances with Family and Disease was published in 1993. Other poems were published in Cosmos, Provincetown Art, Body Positive, New Letters, the anthology Starry, Starry Night, the anthology Things Shaped in Passing: More Poets for Life Writing from the AIDS Pandemic, and the anthology Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS. In 1994 he was awarded a poetry fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center. His second volume of poetry, Fifth Season, was published posthumously in 1998 by the Provincetown Arts Press.

Matias was active in the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Provincetown, and served as the co-chairperson of the committee that established the Provincetown AIDS Ministry, one of the first such organizations in the country. Matias died of AIDS complications on December 13, 1996. He was survived by his partner, Dr. Leonard Alberts.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

Collection contains drafts of poetry and plays written by David Matias, an alumnus of Trinity University who died of AIDS at an early age. Much of his work deals with issues of identity, coming out, and his illness. There are also three video recordings: a performance of one play, a poetry reading, and a guest lecture at a Harvard University class.

System of arrangement

Materials are arranged in three series: Poetry (Series 1), Plays (Series 2), and Audiovisual Materials (Series 3). Within each series, materials are arranged chronologically.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the Special Collections & Archives reading room. The materials are non-circulating.

Physical access

Technical access

Streaming copies of the audiovisual materials are available. Please ask the librarian for assistance.

Conditions governing reproduction

The materials in this collection may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The materials are available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission from the copyright owner or his or her heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Donated to Coates Library by Dr. Leonard Alberts, November 2019.

Immediate source of acquisition

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


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Notes element

Specialized notes

  • Citation: David Matias Papers. Coates Library Special Collections & Archives, Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas).

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Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding aid created by Colleen Hoelscher, December 17, 2019.

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